Where our heroes (the authors, who are the real heroes) try to remember the earlier sessions of the Big Fish campaign that we didn’t actually think to write about.
But first! As we’ve previously mentioned, Jono has what, 20 years of Dungeon Master experience? Is there anything you would like to ask of him? He will gladly answer your questions! Bold. Double Underline. Highlight. Comment below, comment on our Facebook Page, or slide on into or DMs on Twitter. Or if you came here from reddit, just comment there. We’re easy.
If this is your first time checking out our little D&D Adventure Blog, you might want to check out this post that explains the setup and format of the game. You can check out all “Big Fish” content on this nifty landing page.
Not going to lie, it’s about 1:00 am in the morning and I’ve been drinking. We skipped our session because Jon was sick and I thought it would be fun to try and fill out the gaps of the first couple of sessions that we didn’t document here in the blog.
I’m really hoping that Jon can fill in some of the blanks here, a lot of this is really hazy.
So, the first session was a “group session”, where instead of the usual “This is my story” framing of the game you (Jon) run a session of the over-arching meta plot. What can you tell us about the meta-plot Jono?
Well, the meta plot hasn’t yet really made itself clear and we’re on session 8? The old game was supposed to be beer and pretzels kill it and take its treasure fun, and instead became battle scarred veterans saving the cosmos from the mad egos of dead Gods. We’re doing something different here.
The meta-plot is not going to be the focus of the game. The focus is going to be on the shenanigans that you guys come up with during the storytelling part. That said next session will have a little more meta-plot in it, so it isn’t totally forgotten.
So this was the very first adventure of our merry crew together. We were hired as independent mercenaries by Princess Bubblegum to escort a caravan through the land of whatever land we’re in. I refer often to our patron as Princess Bubblegum and our main villain as Ice King. How important is Adventure Time as an influence?
Adventure Time works as a guideline for short fun stories and fun characters that is at the same time assembled into a loose but serious narrative. I think a key part of the AT magic is the blend of serious and silly and even in non-Ice King games that’s been my goal.
Whatever land you’re in? Sad DM is sad. The journey was from Waterdeep to Baldur’s Gate. PB was basically what I was going for with Elise, but the game ended up getting away from her so she hasn’t shown up quite so much.. Not sure how we’re going to get that back on track, or if we really need to.
Some great big flying monster flies in and burninates a bunch of the caravan. Our very own Princess Bubblegum tells us to chase after it,since we’re the best fighters in the group. We do so. After all, we were promised gold for protecting the caravan and presumably we would not be getting paid if there was no caravan at the end of all of this.
It was Glacius Rex’ IQ 35 Ancient White Dragon. He frozinated. Let’s just chill out for a sec and think about how very terrifying a severely mentally handicapped ancient white dragon would be. Really. There will be more of him.
I’m sure it will be ice to meet him again. Eh?
We chase the beast into the woods and lose track of it. (Actually you left him to murder the caravan while you followed a magical trail to figure out who was controlling him.) We follow it towards the general direction of the woods. We are conveniently near Baldur’s Gate. We track the monster and stumble upon a giant tree in the middle of the forest. And when I say giant I mean a tree that is ten times larger than any other tree. A tree so more that it is more skyscraper than living thing. This is how I remember it anyways. Weirdest of all? The tree has a door. A door to enter the tree.
Close! It actually wasn’t a forest so much as rolling hills. The Fields of the Dead are highland sorta territory just north of Baldur’s Gate. It’s kind of a like an extremely dangerous no-man’s land due to all the undead and monsters. The Trade Way (the overland trade route) used to go through it but now it’s too dangerous. So it’s a little more reasonable that the tree fort is in there unfound. A ‘lil.
The Tree Fort
We meet two guards and some comedy ensues. Do you remember dialogue that played out? I remember it was silly. It was basically the first big tip off that this session (and maybe by extension the game as a whole) would have a bit more of a “fun” edge than our previous games.
Yep! These were two ice goblin guards and my notes for them were to do anything to waste time. It was a puzzle encounter where the correct solution is to just ignore it. Or stab them. They were both terribly fragile, and the only way I managed to keep you guys entertained was by having them be unbelievably pathetic.
They keep talking about their master and a door. Again,the details are foggy. This was a long time ago and I was likely drunk then as I am most certainly drunk now.
If I’m not mistaken, we walk right passed them as they wail and complain about it.
More like pat yourselves on the back for how clever you are getting past two unarmed goblins.
Once we make it inside of the massive tree we discover a maze of pathways. Stairs and ladders and corridors that seem to be carved out of the inside of the tree. No way to know which way to go.
I think we head to the basement first.
We encounter a big smash-fest brute of a guy riding a giant worm. We drop as much damage as our puny level 1 Adventurers can muster and he runs off out of the tree and into the woods.
We move up a level and encounter The Goblin King.
The Goblin King is pretty fun. Basically, it’s a horde of goblins and whoever is wearing a crown is the self-proclaimed “Goblin King”. If the “King” dies (which happens pretty frequently in the encounter), another goblin picks up the crown and becomes king. Jon invokes his best Adventure Time infused voice for the character of The Goblin King. Choice quotes from the Goblin King include: ‘You can’t stop me, I’m the Goblin King” and “You should be afraid of the Goblin King, that’s me!”.
Well, the tone of these guys was obviously Mr. Meeseeks from Rick and Morty. I really wanted to include the terrifying dark implications of Mr. Meeseeks, too. Not sure anyone caught it but the other goblins who become the King when he dies were never really 100% on board. They all get to see what happened to the last king.
It’s great. I’m kind of sad that The Goblin King and Company were the first of Glacius Rex’s lieutenants that we may have killed off. He/they were kind of my favorite.
We dispatch the Goblin King and make our way upwards inside of the tree to encounter our last inhabitants of the tree: The Doom Twins.
Jon takes on yet another ridiculous voice to transform himself into a duo he calls The Doom Twins. They promise doom you see. And they are twins.
I remember very little about these dudes, for some reason I have the image of goofy versions of Kaonashi in my head. Maybe they rode a magic carpet?
Here’s the deal. Glacius Rex has 3 silly minions with 3 silly rides. They were in this game to introduce them so that when they showed up in the individual sessions there’d have been a little foreshadowing. They haven’t come up nearly as often as I had thought they would. I threw them out there just in case I’d need them.
We take care of The Doom Twins and it seems like we’ve rid the tree of its evil. In the process more or less stumbling our way to “saving the caravan”.
We decide to set up shop in the tree!
Fucking right you do.
We get paid by the Princess Elise and discover that the tree is under some sort of high level illusion enchantment. The tree is invisible to anyone wandering through the area. That means that we now have a secret invisible tree-fort just outside of Baldur’s Gate.
This becomes our base of operations.
It’s an invisible tree-fort what more do I have to tell you about it? It’s like a mashup of The Bravest Warriors invisible robot base and Finn and Jake’s treehouse. References I feel like most of the party does not enjoy as much as I do.
So I guess what I’m most interested in is knowing exactly why you decided to take a page out of Adventure Time. How much silliness do you want/expect/encourage in this campaign?
You know… I think I just wanted some humor in our games.
I got real burned out on edgelord grimdark save the world gaming, not just from our 4th ed game, but all of the games in the years before it. I ran 2 major DnD campaigns before our 4th ed game. One was Hyskosa’s Hexad, a Ravenloft series of 6 long stories with names like “Root of Evil” and “Ship of Horror”. Ravenloft was DnD’s gothic answer to Vampire the Masquerade. The other major campaign I ran was called Glacial, but pronounced edgy and cool with the emphasis on the -cial so it’s like Gla-sial. Fuck you I was 18. It was based on Dark Sun (Dark Sun, of course) which was a post apocalyptic desert world, and mine was a post apocalyptic ice age world.
When we weren’t playing DnD we were playing Vampire, right?
The darkness of our roleplaying souls knew no bounds. We were… HOLLOW.
Anyway, go back even farther, Labyrinth, Tolkien, Willow, Conan: The Barbarian, Game of Thrones it’s all grim fantasy. Adventure Time is legitimately funny but still somehow true to that core grimness of fantasy. Grim is the wrong word. There’s always real danger in these things. Part of fantasy is heroes struggling, and they have to struggle with something really threatening for the struggle to have any meaning. It’s why classic fairy tales are so bloody. It’s why the Lich in Adventure Time has real teeth on him. The world Finn is trapped in is crazy, really death-is-on-the-line hostile. But it’s still really fun.
That’s what I want in my game.
With Jono feeling better we will continue again in two weeks with the tale of “The Warlock and the Purple Dragon Knights”
Princess Bubblegum uploaded by to Adventure Time Wiki
Goblin image posted by Nevia1991 to the Labyrinth Wiki
Kaonashi Image from: Yomna Art
Adventure Time Tree Fort Image uploaded by Blugo34 to Adventure Time Wiki
Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.